Street Sweeping

To the Editor,

Regarding your Skinny item "Pussyfooting Around Panhandlers" (Tucson Weekly, February 8), concerning the City Council's handling of the proposed aggressive solicitation ordinance: Let's cut to the chase here--Fourth Avenue merchants want to "sweep the streets" of homeless, panhandling youth because they supposedly hurt business. It's just an unfortunate detail to the merchants that panhandling is constitutionally protected speech. This minor problem--the Constitution--is "overcome" by allegations of criminal activity by youth who are panhandling, justifying the introduction of an "aggressive solicitation ordinance."

Mailbag If the problem on Fourth Avenue is crime, then the statutes for criminal activity should be enforced. The real problem is how to deal with our homeless youth who live on the streets. "Sweeping the streets" will not address the problem and is a cold-hearted, self-serving solution for the merchants of Fourth Avenue. The City Council apparently recognizes this and wants to address the problem of homeless youth in a serious and socially responsible way. Their decision was neither "pussyfooting" nor "too politically correct."

--Paul Gattone

Off The Roster

To the Editor,

We are aware that you are alleging in print that Don Hatfield is currently associated with the membership of Southern Arizona Sports Development Corporation. We wish to inform you that your statements are in error.

Mr. Hatfield had at one time been a member of our original organization. However, during its growth and consequent change in goals and direction, Mr. Hatfield decided to resign his membership, and not formalize an invitation to sit in the Board of Directors due to a potential conflict of interest.

We appreciate your interest in our organization.

--Daniel L. Schneider

Editor's note: So why does he still appear on your letterhead? Or is it just some sort of dumb-jock joke?

The Hot Seat

To the Editor,

I wish you guys would save the sensationalism for articles on bungee jumping and the royal family. Michael Burns' article on global warming contains information of great concern, but his "we're gonna burn in hell" diatribe will only result in misunderstanding. Approaches like his paralyze people with threats of impending doom rather than inspiring them to action, and worse, give naysayers the room to dismiss human-induced environmental change as the ranting of chicken-little extremists (and I'm on his side, for crying out loud).

Yelling and screaming about the possibility of 140-degree days in Tucson and Phoenix brings us no closer to understanding climate, nor to taking any action. No one has any business throwing around statements such as "All life on the planet's surface will die." Anyone who reads the paper knows there are already environmental refugees--so Arizona cannot produce the first. And Burns clearly needs a lesson in the carbon cycle.

Despite what Burns writes, there is increasing recognition that human activities have great impact on global systems. Why doesn't he mention any of the developments in global change research and policy, or suggest alternatives? Global environmental change is indeed upon us and we play a big part. Approaching the problem hysterically as The Weekly and Burns have only creates confusion in people who would like to understand, and opens up lots of room for the naysayers.

--Mrill Ingram
Institute for the Study of Planet Earth
University of Arizona

Michael Burns responds: Please let me restate: We must drastically restrict the burning of fossil fuels, and we must do it immediately.

Whether the earth is in a cycle of warming due to natural CO2 fluctuations and we are exacerbating that cycle by adding 60 million tons of CO2 from human activity per day, or whether we are the sole cause of the warming, is irrelevant. We simply don't need any more CO2 in the atmosphere.

I recently received a package of information from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr. James Hansen and his colleagues, Drs. Ruedy, Sato and Reynolds, have submitted a paper to be published in 1996 by the American Geophysical Union. In that paper they write: "Hansen et al. (1993) argue that record surface temperatures are predictable for the latter half of the 1990s, despite the vagaries of natural climate fluctuations, due to the strong radiative forcing and unrealized warming resulting from past increases in greenhouse gases. If their argument is correct, the 1995 warmth may be a prelude to significantly higher temperatures within the next several years."

Therefore, there is a distinct possibility the Sonoran Desert is about to experience the hottest weather in the history of this region since the beginning of humankind. If the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth is not willing to publicly discuss the ramifications of this, then I shall be forced to conclude the scientists at the University of Arizona have abrogated their responsibilities to the community at large.

Animal Reaction

To the Editor,

I felt a great deal of mirth when I read William Rhodes' letter to the editor (Tucson Weekly, February 1). He used a tremendous number of words to sarcastically criticize and condemn Maria Nasif's letter in defense of lobster life. The word "overkill" definitely springs to mind.

It's always comical to see someone like Rhodes demonstrate his ignorance by arrogantly assuming certain facts about an individual he does not know personally. This is a common malady among those who take pride in tearing down people with a high level of social-justice blood in their veins--people like Nasif with her respect for animal life and its suffering.

Whether Nasif sweeps the ground in front of her to avoid harm to other living beings is truly irrelevant. (Rhodes obviously used this example to obfuscate the issue.) I'd venture to bet that if Rhodes were in imminent danger of being harmed, it's the Maria Nasifs of the world from whom he'd receive the fastest assist, even at their own peril. Rhodes and his pomposity could then go on to live another day, and sear another soul with his long-winded drivel.

--Roberta S. Wright

Irish Charm

To the Editor,

You know what's worse than a Dallas Cowpie fan? A loud-mouthed, Irish Catholic fan of Our Lady of Perpetual Television Coverage of South Bend, Indiana (otherwise known as the Fightin' Irish of Notre Dame, or the Fightin' West Africans of Lou Holtz).

Tom Danehy should come down off his high horse, Mr. "My Opinion Deserves to be Published Even Though I May Be Empty Headed".


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